The first series of tests, trying to figure out what was going on with David
Sleeping comfortably in another room while being pumped with pain meds and electrolytes, under observation for possible apendicitis
Friday morning, David woke up feeling fine. Suddenly he came to me in the kitchen and said, "Mommy, I don't feel so good." I encouraged him to go lay down until we were ready to leave on our full day of adventures. We had already paid quite a bit of money to rent a van for the day so all nine of us could travel through several towns in Boyaca together. He'd had some stomach pains before that passed within an hour, so we figured he'd be okay if he slept in the van. We wrapped him in a blanket, brought him a pillow, and brought along a very reluctant child. Thirty minutes into the trip, he was crying into his pillow, thirty minutes or so later, he threw up in a bag and all over his new hat and on the floor. We stopped to clean up (not so easy in a country where bathrooms, toilet paper, soap, and paper towels are not provided in very many places), and then he felt better. About thirty minutes to an hour later, the pain came back and he was miserable. We stopped in a little town called Paipa to get some broth for him to eat (and for everyone else to eat breakfast), but he finally broke down and couldn't go on. I stood outside the restaurant and hugged him as we both cried together. He had the option of being strong to continue on our journey or go to an emergency clinic down the street and spend the rest of the day there until our friends could come back and pick us up. When he chose the clinic option, I knew it was bad. That's when I broke down and started falling apart myself.
We checked in to the clinic, and I sent our friends on their way. Juan David had to stay with me, so Julian stayed, too. They stayed in the waiting room while the doctors checked David and began running tests. Imagine how scared David was being poked with needles by people speaking to him in Spanish in a not so very sanitary place (bathrooms with no toilet paper offered nor soap to wash your hands). He screamed and cried when they took the first blood sample. Then when they started the IV to start pumping him with pain meds and electrolytes (he was severely dehydrated), he watched the color drain from his hands and cried, "I don't want to die today!" I about fell apart.
The blood sample and stool sample showed that he had a bacterial infection in his intestines, and they were concerned about him being so dehydrated. The location of his pain mimicked symptoms of apendicitis, so the doctor decided to pump him with pain meds, nausea meds, and electrolytes while she kept him under observation. If his pain did not go away, they would need to take another blood sample six hours after the first one to see if he improved at all. If not, they would need to transfer him to a hospital to see a surgeon. Mike kept calling about every hour to check on him (I had no way to contact him myself), while I just cried through every phone call. I don't know that I've ever felt so alone, and I was scared to death. No internet access. My cell phone battery was going dead. Our friends were several hours away from coming back. Julian and Juan David were not allowed to be back with me and David. They snuck back several times, but the guard kept coming back and kicking them out, saying that only one person was allowed to be with the patient. We were in the middle of nowhere, a good two hours away from our hotel, three hours away from our "home" in Bogota, over two thousand miles away from home and more sanitary hospital conditions. We had nothing to eat or drink the entire day (putting myself in danger of dehydration with a body not accustomed to this altitude), and I felt terrible that Julian and Juan David were stuck in a tiny little waiting room all day long. The IV kept stopping and was not giving him medicine regulary or consistently, and it was a battle getting whatever nurse or doctor I could find to help me get it to function correctly. I only had a few baby wipes left in my purse and a tiny bit of hand sanitizer left, so I had to use it all sparingly, not knowing how long we'd be there. I just felt so icky and disgusted. Julian snuck back in at the end of the day, and I just cried on his shoulder, telling him how badly I just wanted to go home. Once he realized how scared I was, he really stepped up and took care of me after that. I knew Mike had contacted a ton of people to pray for David, but I found myself so incredibly angry with God for not only letting my little boy suffer so much, but also for putting us into such a hopeless situation so far away from anywhere that we might call home.
David, on the other hand, was such a brave little trooper. After the IV issues, he kept waking up and comforting me, telling me that God had a purpose for letting this happen and putting us in this situation. He said, "The Lord has a purpose for everything that happens. There must be something good that's going to come out of this". Wow. I couldn't have been more proud of him.
By six o'clock, they finally got the results of the second blood test and urine sample. His levels had improved greatly, mostly from the electrolytes they'd been pumping into him. They were able to rule out apendicitis and release him with a treatment plan for a bacterial infection and dehydration. Our friends had just gotten back (after a nine hour day), and I went to check out and pay. Thankfully, the entire day and all the tests cost me less than $150 and the meds only cost about $6. (He's taking four different medications a day now, plus he's on a very strict diet.) We all piled in the van for our two hour ride back through the mountains. The ladies who run the hotel (a Christian retreat center for church groups) made us some soup, rice, meat, and vegetables when we got back. Everyone headed to bed because we were exhausted, though I had to tend to David for quite a while to get him to eat something so he could start his meds.
Perhaps the purpose was to force us to go to a clinic because of his severe dehydration (despite the fact that we carry his water bottle with purified water everywhere we go) and because these bacterial infections are not easy to diagnose or treat in the United States.
The next morning, I got up early and walked down to the courtyard to have some quiet time with God. I pray a prayer for my boys every day out of the book The Power of a Praying Parent, and I turned back to the prayer I had prayed for them the day before. This was the end of the very prayer I prayed for David just a day earlier:
"I pray that he will have faith strong enough to lift him above his circumstances and limitations and instill in him the confidence of knowing that everything will work together for good."
I thought back to David's comforting words to me in that little hospital room, and I realized that God had answered my prayer. I was the one falling apart, and David's faith stood the test, just as I had prayed for him.
Anyone else have goosebumps?